Understanding seasonal insurance needs

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By Dewald Cillie, Director, SATIB Insurance Brokers

As South Africans, we’re all too familiar with the harsh realities of our environment. This year has been a stark reminder, as Cape Town currently battles through one of the coldest winters in memory, and floods reported by farmers as the worst in 18 years.

Let’s have a look at these extreme weather conditions and explore how lodge and hotel owners should review their insurance policies in light of these challenges.

The Impact of Water: Flooding and Insurance Coverage

When the seasons turn, the Cape becomes a battleground against the elements. This year, the winter rains are not just a discomfort but have transformed into devastating floods. Tourism properties are under threat, making a comprehensive review of insurance coverage for water-related damages vital.

It’s crucial to understand your property’s vulnerability to extreme weather events when reviewing your insurance policy. Having comprehensive coverage can make the difference between a manageable situation and a catastrophic loss.

Staying Warm and Staying Safe: The Role of Fire Extinguishers

In the face of load shedding and cold fronts, guests and staff alike turn to gas heaters for warmth. While they provide much-needed comfort and warmth, they also increase the risk of fire.

It is of the utmost importance to make sure you conduct regular maintenance of fire extinguishers. Remember that fire safety requirements are not mere red tape—they safeguard lives and assets. Plus, you need to take into consideration that your fire claim could be rejected if your fire extinguishers are not functional.

The Power of Compliance: The Significance of Electrical COCs

With the heightened use of electricity and gas appliances in colder months, it’s important to check that your establishment has a valid Electrical Certificate of Compliance (ECOC).

The ECOC serves as proof that a property’s electrical installations have been inspected and deemed safe by a certified electrician. By ensuring compliance with electrical regulations, property owners can prevent accidents and avoid potential claim rejections.

Surviving Winter: Preparing for Unique Challenges

Every season presents its unique challenges, and winter is no different. From frozen pipes to ice dams and an increased risk of property damage due to severe weather conditions, the cold season is anything but a winter wonderland.

Property owners should take proactive steps to protect against these risks. Simple actions such as insulating pipes and maintaining heating systems can save significant trouble down the line.

While these may seem like simple measures, it’s often the most straightforward steps that make a significant difference. And ironically, these straightforward steps are often the easiest to overlook in our day-to-day operations.

As we brave South Africa’s seasonal shifts, it’s important to conduct regular reviews of your insurance policies. Ensuring that you have the right coverage, keeping your tourism establishments safe, and adhering to necessary regulations are all part of the bigger picture – achieving peace of mind during challenging times.

Side Bar: Tips for Mitigating Risk of Electrical Fires

  1. Use a registered electrical contractor for all electrical installations.
  2. Avoid overloading circuits with high-amperage appliances.
  3. Regularly check your extension cords and replace them if they are worn or heated.
  4. Install light bulbs that match or are below your fixture’s maximum wattage.
  5. Clean appliances like tumble dryers regularly to avoid potential fires.
  6. Never leave a cooking pan unattended on an electric stove.
  7. Ensure you have a valid Electrical Certificate of Compliance (ECOC) for your property.

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